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Those insured by COBRA may have better options

Ohio residents that currently have health insurance under COBRA may have more viable options for paying out of pocket expenses. Some providers expect more for their services than insurance will pay, leaving patients with medical bills that can be overwhelming.

Sometimes having medical procedures done exceeds what the insurance company will pay a provider. When accepting the work a doctor performs, an agreement is entered into that obligates the patient to see that the bill is paid in full. Some doctors accept what the insurance company believes is a reasonable amount for a particular procedure. The patient is covered and won't have to make up the difference. In many cases, however, insurance companies don't pay enough, leaving the responsibility for additional payment with the patient.

Satisfying charges for the balance can devastate a person's financial health and credit rating. The patient should ask about the fee schedule for the procedure before opting to have it done and compare it with what the insurance company will pay. If the procedure is not voluntary and must be done, it may be possible to work with the health care provider to make payments on the balance. Ignoring the balance may lead to a negative credit event, but only if the creditor chooses to report it. Bankruptcy may be another option if no other solution is available.

It doesn't take long for medical bills to pile up and become unmanageable when insurance doesn't provide ample coverage. Even a relatively common injury or illness can drain savings and place a family deep in debt. An attorney with experience in bankruptcy law may be able to suggest alternative forms of debt relief.

Source: FOX Business, "What to Do When COBRA Health Plan Isn't Enough", Steve Bucci, April 04, 2014

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